The value of “Why?” and “To what end?”

Arts / Article

“Why?”  “To what end?”  If you are not asking yourself that, you should.  I have recently become a huge fan of “strategic thinking.”  I personally do a lot of what I do from instinct, or “gut feeling,” trusting that my accumulated experiences continue to strengthen and inform my decisions as a leader.  I have come to realize, in the last year or so, that this ability coupled with data collection and strategic thought and action, based on this data, is what separates the women from the girls.

I think the biggest obstacle to achieving this use of strategic thought, meditation, and action is time.  There is none!  We are all working unthinkable hours a day just to keep the ball rolling, the stories coming, and the lights on.  But there lies the reason this is so important.  Why?  To what end?  Something is driving this passion.  The equation has become clear to me – many thanks to Alyssa Byrkit for helping me to see and embrace the obvious! – if you don’t know why you are doing it, where it is going, what you want success to look like, how will you know when you are there?  How will you recognize those many important steps?  This business is so personal, so subjective: how do we even define success or excellence?

In the process of defining why, it forces me to articulate what is important about the work.  That brings me closer to the story I want to tell with the organization.  I tell stories for a living.  I am a storyteller, a theater maker, but in the past, when it came to telling the story of the organization, I fell down.  Being able to articulate AND be proud of who we are and what we are trying to achieve is critical to the “getting there”!

Strategic plans and the process to get there have always invoked a huge sigh and roll of the eyes from me in the past.  “Who has time for THAT?”  This time, under the guidance of Alyssa, I want to think about it and talk about it everyday to everyone!!  The process has brought clarity and voice to the anecdotal and refreshed commitment to our purpose.

I highly recommend taking the time to ask, “Why?”  “To what end?”  Once that question is answered, we can then begin to assess the path to get there.  To know what questions to ask and what information we need to move forward.